The Government has finally revealed the long-awaited list of countries that English residents can visit this summer, bringing joy to some, but misery for others.
The list of 59 destinations – including France, Spain and Italy – means travellers from England have the go ahead from the Foreign Office to travel from July 4 and will be exempt from quarantine on arrival back to England after July 10. Devolved nations will announce their own quarantine plans in due course.
It is not necessarily the case that the country will welcome the British holidaymaker on arrival without the need to go into quarantine, as was originally hoped under “air bridge” discussions. New Zealand, for example, does not plan to lift its quarantine but is on the UK’s list.
The most popular holiday destinations to be omitted from the list include Portugal, the US and Sweden, which have been deemed by the Government not to have a sound enough grip on their coronavirus infection rate.
The Government said: “We will keep the conditions in these countries and territories under review. If they worsen we will not hesitate to reintroduce self-isolation requirements.
“Travellers should always check the latest FCO travel advice. Travel advice includes information on any health measures in place for visitors to the country or territory. These can include a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine, or undergo testing for coronavirus, or even restrictions on entry.”
The announcement will bring relief to thousands of British holidaymakers with trips booked to these countries in the coming weeks. But there will be disappointment, too, with those due to travel to Portugal likely to have their trip cancelled by their tour operator.
Follow all the day’s news below.
Can you visit Portugal right now?
Yes and no. The country has been left off the list of countries for which the UK is exempting quarantine rules, which means that you will need to quarantine for 14 days on return.
Portugal has also been excluded from another list exempting the nation from the Foreign Office ban on all but essential travel, apart from Madeira and the Azores. So, from July 4, you can visit Portugal’s islands, with insurance, but you will need to self-isolate on return, but if you take a trip to, say, the Algarve, you will be doing so against FCO advice and will need to quarantine.
Find the latest advice on travel to Portugal here.
Malta will open to British travellers from July 15 with no quarantine restrictions on arrival
Malta is on the approved list of countries that English residents can visit this summer, without the need to quarantine upon return. It has now been confirmed that from July 15 a reciprocal agreement will be in place, meaning English residents will not have to quarantine in Malta either.
Tolene van der Merwe, director of UK & Ireland for Malta Tourism Authority commented:
We are delighted that the UK Government has included Malta on the travel exemption quarantine list. Malta’s handling of the pandemic has been praised by WHO and The Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland who remarked that Malta has ‘done the best in the whole of Europe’ and resident and traveller safety is our priority.
Malta will open to British travellers from July 15 with no quarantine restrictions on arrival. We are looking forward to welcoming the first flight from Britain on July 16. Thermal testing will be in place at entry points including the airport to ensure the residents and travellers are safe.
More than 650,000 British travellers visited Malta, Gozo and Comino in 2019.
Where will you travel this summer? Tell us your plans
Summer holidays have finally been given the go ahead – we want to hear your plans.
The list of 59 destinations – including Greece, Spain and France – mean travellers from England will be exempt from quarantine on arrival back to England after July 10. A separate list gives the countries that no longer have an FCO warning in place, though not all are quarantine-exempt.
Devolved nations will announce their own quarantine plans in due course.
The announcement will bring relief to thousands of British holidaymakers with trips booked to these countries in the coming weeks. But there will be disappointment, too. Some countries including Portugal and Sweden do not feature on the quarantine-free list.
But the question is, what does this announcement mean to you?
Please share your thoughts here.
Can I still visit a country that is off the list?
Technically, yes. And for some countries excluded you will not need to go into quarantine on arrival. In Portugal, for example, there is no “air bridge” agreement and it is not on the list, but you will not need to quarantine on arrival in that country – only on your return to the UK.
But travelling doesn’t come without its risks and problems. You will be travelling against Foreign Office advice, meaning your travel insurance will likely be invalidated. That said, there are a small number of travel insurance firms, such as Travel and General, which offer bespoke insurance packages for holidays to countries the FCO advises against visiting. Travelling against FCO advice is not a prosecutable offence.
Then you will also need to go into a not very practical two-week quarantine on arrival into England. You will need to give your address at your port of arrival, and if you are caught flouting the self-isolation you could be in for a £1,000 fine.
Find the answers to all your questions surrounding air bridges here.
When will the quarantine exemption come into effect?
The quarantine exemption will come into effect from July 10. This means you won’t have to go into quarantine if you return after that date.
So you could travel to Spain tomorrow, as per FCO advice, and return next Saturday without breaking any rules or needing to quarantine on return. If you arrived home the day before, on July 9, you would only need to go into quarantine for one day as the quarantine lifts on Friday.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the delay until Friday next week to lift quarantine – four days later than expected – was necessary to give airports the time to prepare systems for streaming passengers from quarantine and non-quarantined countries.
Where to go in France – the safest regions and places to avoid now you can travel quarantine-free
France has been included on the long-awaited list of countries that English residents can visit this summer.
Anthony Peregrine has the details on five regions where the incidences of the virus are, as we speak, among the very lowest in France – perhaps because they’re mainly off-centre – and where he guarantees you a good time.
Discover them here.
Is it now safe to book a ski holiday for next winter?
The coronavirus pandemic left the hopes and dreams of thousands of British skiers and snowboarders in tatters last winter. But as the government announces a list of quarantine-free travel corridors thoughts turn to the future when we will be to return to the slopes once more.
The list lifts the Foreign Office ban on non-essential travel to all the named destinations from July 4, including France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and Norway.
Find out what the experts think ski holidays of the future might look like here, or check out our country-by-country guide to Covid restriction in ski resorts here.
Lucy Aspden has more details here.
These countries still have restrictions on UK arrivals
The Government has now given the green light to overseas holidays today, meaning visitors to 59 countries will no longer have to self-isolate on their return to England.
Not all the countries on the list have a reciprocal agreement in place though, meaning visitors could still be met with quarantine or other restrictions upon arrival in their holiday destination.
For example, in Finland entry is prohibited for all non-resident foreign nationals, with some limited exemptions; in Cyprus entry is not permitted if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days; and in Malta, a 14-day self-isolation is still required.
Read the full details here.
The 59 countries exempt from the travel quarantine
English travellers will be free to take their much-longed-for summer holidays without facing a 14-day quarantine under plans announced on Friday by the Government.
The Transport Secretary has published a list of countries where the Government has abandoned its quarantine policy.
See the full list here.
Italian Tourist Board celebrates relaxed quarantine measures between the UK and Italy
Italy is one of the confirmed countries on the Government’s official list of travel corridors published today. This means that from July 10, unless they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days, passengers arriving from Italy will not be required to self-isolate on arrival into England.
Maria Elena Rossi, director of marketing and promotions for the Italian Tourist Board commented:
I am delighted that the UK Government has announced that passengers returning or visiting England from Italy will no longer be required to self-isolate from the 10 July. Italy’s borders have been open to British visitors from 3 June with no quarantine restrictions on arrival into Italy however the quarantine on return into Britain will not have encouraged many visitors to book. Now that we have a reciprocal agreement in place we are confident that British visitors will want to come back to Italy for the summer to experience our wonderful culture, food and wine and beautiful countryside.
In May, the country already started to significantly open-up to Italians. Museums, attractions, parks and gardens, as well as bars and pubs, restaurants and ice cream shops have all now opened up and comply with a strict set of new guidelines and protocols respecting social distancing at all times. Importantly for the British visitor, beach resorts have also opened and are following the new guidelines to ensure that visitors can safely enjoy the beautiful Italian coastline.
She added that Britain is one of Italy’s most important markets and in 2019 invited 6.4 million visitors spending €3.8 billion. The most visited regions were: Veneto, Campania, Tuscany.
Breaking: Official list of international travel corridors announced
Air bridges, or international travel corridors, will allow travel to England without 14-day quarantine from July 10 from the countries and territories in the official list which has just been published here.
Air Bridges (international travel corridors) will allow travel to England without 14-day quarantine from 10 July from the countries & territories in this OFFICIAL list I’ve published here ?https://t.co/5gmIVSBK00
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 3, 2020
More details to follow.
LastMinute.com reports a dramatic surge in searches
Britons look set to make a last-minute dash to the beaches of Europe as LastMinute.com reports a dramatic surge in searches, while the nation waits to hear which countries will be featured on the government’s quarantine-free ‘safe’ list.
The online booking site reports a 150 per cent rise in holiday searches for both countries last week, compared to searches a month ago.
Leading the pack of potential holiday destinations are Spain and Greece, both with search volumes up over 145 per cent, with France close behind (138 per cent up).
“Our search data shows that international sun and beach holidays remain popular – so, as soon as the go-ahead is given, we can expect lookers to turn to bookers, as people head back to the likes of Majorca, Benidorm and the Costa Del Sol for their traditional summer breaks,” said Andrea Bertoli, managing director.
As confidence in the future possibilities of travel grow, bookings for winter sun holidays are also increasing, with departures in January and February higher than usual for this time of year.
The best hotels reopening in Europe for the summer as Britons await ‘air bridges’ announcement
As lockdown restrictions in Europe begin to ease, hotels are reopening, bringing hope not just for economic recovery across the continent but of much-needed holidays.
While the FCO is still advising against all but essential travel, the imminent announcement of ‘air bridges’, starting with Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Germany, means Britons may well be able fly off for a holiday on the Med or a stay in Alps sooner rather than later.
With this in mind, here are some of the best European hotels to have opened so far, eagerly waiting to welcome guests back with open arms (while maintaining at least a metre’s gap at all times, of course).
‘Lockdown is murder’: A postcard from St Petersburg, a city desperate for tourists to return
It did not come to this even during the deadly Siege of Leningrad: St Petersburg’s numerous rivers and canals, typically filled with boats, are eerily still this summer, robbing locals and visitors of the best view of the city’s spectacular palaces and monuments.
The unprecedented ban on boating that was only lifted last Sunday is just one of numerous sweeping coronavirus restrictions that have paralysed this Baltic city that has grown increasingly reliant on tourism.
Nikolai Predtechensky, who runs Petrograd, which operates 120 boats and yachts, is largely fatalistic about the industry’s prospects.
Like an overwhelming majority of small business owners in Russia, Mr Predtechensky, 33, has not received any substantial government aid and was turned down when he applied for a zero-interest loan.
“Imposing a three-month lockdown without any significant payments to people… it’s murder for all of the small and medium businesses,” he told me.
Nataliya Vasilyeva has more here.
Will your holiday to Spain be more expensive this year? The rise of ‘servicio Covid’
British holidaymakers may soon be able to travel to Spain, but expats have warned of an unofficial coronavirus cover charge, or ‘servicio Covid’, being implemented at bars and restaurants across the country.
Spain’s hospitality industry endured one of the world’s strictest lockdowns and now it seems is trying to recoup catastrophic losses and pay for continuing measures, such as PPE for staff, by adding a few euros on to bills. The charges reportedly vary from one euro per table to as much as one euro per drink.
Warning Britons away, Andrew and Deborah Goding, expats living in Mallorca tweeted: “Just to let all the idiots that are travelling to Spain know that they will be hit with a Covid tax on each round of drinks they purchase. That’s if they can find a bar open.”
WTTC criticise the UK’s inability to coordinate its approach to easing travel restrictions
The UK’s inability to coordinate its approach to easing travel restrictions will lead to long-lasting disruption, higher costs and a slow recovery, the World Travel and Tourism Council has warned.
President and CEO Gloria Guevara said she welcomed England’s plan to exempt quarantine for travellers from 60 countries, but that the Government’s failure to ensure the rules are the same across the UK is “disappointing”.
“This risks causing confusion for travellers and we need greater clarity about which ‘exempted countries’ will not require arriving UK holidaymakers and travellers to self-isolate,” she said. “This lack of reciprocity would put the UK at a distinct competitive disadvantage at a time when we ought to be providing the assurance travellers need to restore consumer confidence. Blanket quarantine measures kill travel and should rarely be used as they stifle economic activity.”
How Northern Ireland reopened to domestic tourism
Northern Ireland has today reopened to domestic tourism. The nation’s tourism industry was originally slated to reopen on July 20, but was brought forward by the Stormont Executive on June 15 after pressure from the tourism sector.
Caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation have been allowed to open since June 26, but today, July 3, marks the opening of the region’s hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as museums and cultural heritage sites.
The reopening makes Northern Ireland the first part of the UK to reopen fully to domestic tourism – England will follow suit tomorrow, July 4.
Telegraph Travel’s Emma Cooke flew to Northern Ireland today and has the full story.
‘We can’t continue to live like this’ – meet the cruise line boss who’s also an epidemiologist
While it’s not hard to find people who think they’re an expert on subject after subject, one cruise line boss really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to coronavirus.
That’s because The Majestic Line’s managing director, Ken Grant, has also been an epidemiologist for 25 years.
The 76-year-old, who founded the small Scottish boat line in 2004 with fellow sailor Andy Thoms, says he’s prepared to test passengers before they board, check their temperatures and maintain social distancing – but he draws the line at face masks. If forced to require them, he would rather abandon the planned resumption of cruising on August 1 and wait until next year.
Having worked as a public health consultant in more than 30 countries, Dr Grant is an optimist who believes there will be a vaccine by the end of the year.
Dave Monk has the full story.
Can I visit Spain? The latest travel advice as quarantine dropped
Spain is set to be on a list of countries announced by the UK Government for which quarantine measures do not apply.
The country’s inclusion is likely to mean the resumption of summer holidays from July 10.
The Mediterranean summer favourite initially refused to lift restrictions for Britons unless it secured a reciprocal arrangement for Spanish arrivals to the UK, but backed down under pressure to boost its battered tourism industry.
Until a reciprocal deal is officially confirmed, British tourists arriving back from Spain before July 10 will have to stay at home for two weeks on their return.
Read the full report.
First commercial passenger flight takes off from Cardiff with scores of passengers despite restrictions in Wales
Scores of passengers flew from Cardiff to Malaga with Ryanair this morning despite restrictions in Wales forbidding travel outside a five-mile radius. The departure on Friday morning was the first commercial passenger flight from the Welsh capital since lockdown. A second flight will depart for Faro, Portugal, this evening.
The Welsh government had previously said the flights should be postponed while coronavirus restrictions were still in place in the country. One passenger, Paul, who did not want to give his surname, told the BBC: “The Welsh Government needs to reassess what they’re doing. There are very few people adhering to the five-mile rule.
“You can’t prevent people here going away when the UK government believes it’s now okay to travel to some places where there’s a lower R rate.” Ryanair ramped up its flights from the UK this week; the low-cost airline said its first wave of departures were two thirds full.
Downing Street is in talks with ministers in the devolved nations to persuade them to sign up to the Government’s plans to exempt quarantine for travellers from a list of 60 countries.
Where to have a ‘normal’ holiday: European destinations without mandatory face masks
Earlier this week, Telegraph Travel’s Oliver Smith wrote about the “draconian face mask rules” adopted by a number of destinations, such as New York, where residents have taken to verbally abusing those who walk the streets bare-faced, and Turkey, where masks are obligatory on many beaches.
Smith said he wouldn’t be visiting such places this year, and many readers agreed with him. “Thanks for the tip on Turkey,” said one. “I was thinking of going there in August, but definitely not if outdoor mask wearing is mandatory. It’s the very height of stupidity.” Another remarked: “Completely agree. I will endure if it means I get to fly but not outside.”
So where can you go? Which destinations haven’t adopted mandatory face mask policies and OTT social distancing measures? Where are things relatively “normal”?
Find the answers here.
Tui to begin reopening stores from next week
The world’s largest tour operator, Tui will open 18 branches on Monday July 6 in England. Eight more shops in Scotland and Wales will follow later in the week on July 9.
The travel giant sent a message to customers today saying:
Stores will be set up for social distancing, with floor markers, fewer desks and perspex screens. We’ll be able to help you to find and book your perfect holiday and answer any questions you may have about existing bookings.
For now, our travel money services won’t be available, and we’ll be accepting card payments only.
A five-star hotel in Vietnam’s capital has opened with a golden gimmick
Not one for minimalists, The Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake Hotel is hoping to attract luxury-seekers with its all-gold theme, reports Emma Beaumont.
As well as an entirely golden exterior, inside guests can expect gold-plated baths and loos. However, the crowning glory is surely the 24 karat gold-tiled infinity pool on the rooftop.
The owners of the hotel, which is managed by US-based Wyndham Hotels, say around a tonne of gold was used to cover the hotel. They are now planning other gold projects in Ho Chi Minh City and central Vietnam.
One of the hotel’s first guests, Luong Van Thuan, said: “It has changed my mind about what luxury can be. Other hotels usually use marble as tiles, but here everything is gold-plated down to the sink.”
Vietnam has slowly started reopening its tourism sector after more than three months in lockdown. The country has recorded only 350 cases of coronavirus and no deaths.
Sykes Cottages reverses policy on cancelled bookings
Holiday lets firm Sykes Cottages has reversed its policy on cancelled bookings and agreed to offer cash refunds to customers whose holidays could not go ahead due to coronavirus, the competition watchdog has said.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that, until recently, Sykes had been refusing to provide full cash refunds to anyone whose break had to be cancelled because of Covid-19.
But this is changing following the CMA’s intervention.
If the company had not changed its policy, the watchdog said it could have launched court proceedings against it.
Sykes has now given the CMA a formal undertaking, according to the Press Association, and agreed to:
Offer a full cash refund to customers whose holidays could not go ahead due to Government restrictions at the time and who have not already rebooked.
Convert credit vouchers to cash, if customers prefer – as long as the credit voucher has not been used.
Provide the CMA with monthly reports on how many refund offers have been made and accepted.
The commitments apply to several businesses and brands owned by Sykes, including the Pure Cottages Group and Carbis Bay Holidays, as well as Sykes Cottages itself.
VisitScotland has issued a new visitor charter
As Covid-19 restrictions are further eased, and Scottish tourism prepares to reopen on the July 15, VisitScotland has issued a new visitor charter on how to enjoy Scotland over the coming months.
Launched by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing on Friday July 3, the national tourism organisation has developed a host of top tips aimed at encouraging safe and responsible travel around the country.
It is hoped the advice, which is available to tourism businesses to download, print and display and promote on social channels, will aid the recovery of the tourism sector.
‘I visited Venice last weekend – and it was better than I could have imagined’
Journalist Kate Mann visited Venice last weekend, and found quite canals, empty alleyways and bizarre breakfast buffet set-ups.
As we live in Munich, northern Italy is a regular holiday destination. The temptation to hit the road, cross the Alps and stop for an espresso at the first service station beyond the Italian border is never far away. And yet Venice isn’t normally on our radar, especially during the hot and overcrowded season. However, with mass tourism still on hold as borders reopened, this seemed like a unique time to visit again – and we weren’t wrong.
There were moments when it felt like we were on a film set or in the pages of a guide book. It was how I imagine Venetian summers might have been in the past. We strolled along the spacious sea front, wandered through empty alleys and rode the vaporetto down a quiet Grand Canal. Gondolas still moved silently along the waterways, but only a handful.
Read her full report here.
EU guidance hailed as ‘step in the right direction’ for cruise comeback
Europe’s cruise industry has taken a step forward following the publication of health and safety guidelines by the European Union.
The advice covers the on-board experience, high-risk groups, reduction in capacity and strict contingency plans for any future outbreaks of coronavirus.
While a handful of cruise lines have started sailing again, many continue to extend their pause in operations.
The 49-page document recommends cruise operators develop a “strategy for reducing the risks for Covid-19 among cruise ship passengers and crew” which “should cover the entire process, beginning at the time of booking and extending until passengers and crew have returned to their homes.”
More details here.
What holidays in Cornwall will look like after July 4
“Cornwall is beautiful, visiting it is a pleasure, but at the moment and for some time to come, don’t.”
This was the statement Michael Gove made in parliament back in April, a month after the country went into lockdown. By and large people abided. There was the odd furore featuring high-profile second home owners such as Gordon Ramsey and reports of scrawled messages in the sand reading ‘locals only!’, but with the Government’s announcement that restaurants, hotels and campsites – in other words Cornwall’s lifeblood during the summer months – can reopen from 4 July, attitudes have shifted, and local business are thinking more positively, and cleverly, about how they’ll operate in a world after Covid-19.
In Polzeath, a beach town on Cornwall’s north coast, the owners at the St Moritz Hotel have been hard at work creating what’s thought to be the first restaurant designed specifically for post-Covid dining. The Anti-social Dining Club is made up of 16 dining rooms of various sizes serving up to 96 covers. Each room has its own door and dinner is served to each room via hatches connected to a central food corridor.
As for attractions, The Lost Gardens of Heligan is already open, while the Minack Theatre will open on July 10, both offering pre-booked tickets with time slots. St Michael’s Mount – an island off the south coast near Land’s End – is to reopen from July 4, but only on days when the tide is low enough for visitors to walk across the ancient cobbled causeway that connects it to the land.
Read the full report by Emilee Tombs here.
Grant Shapps announces air bridges from July 10 in video statement
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has shared more details for the proposed air bridges in a video statement. In the video, he confirms that from July 10 a series of air bridges will be in place, meaning there will be no need for quarantine on return to the UK from some countries.
The countries on the list, which will be shared later today, all have the same or lower levels of infections as the UK. When putting the list together, the Government also looked at how each proposed country currently treats their own data and what social distancing rules are in place.
The list is not permanent, and should infections rise in a particular country, the quarantine could be reinstated.
Which? responds to changes to quarantine restrictions for low-risk countries
Consumer group Which? has released a statement in response to the government’s changes to quarantine restrictions for travel from low-risk countries, ahead of it announcing the full list of countries later today. Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said:
The government has caused mass confusion over holidays in recent weeks, and while a traffic light system will be welcome news to some holidaymakers, many will still be left questioning if restrictions in other countries will prevent them from travelling, and if so, if they will be able to get their money back.
Others are still very reluctant to travel while coronavirus remains a risk, so holiday companies and airlines should ensure they continue to offer customers flexible rebooking options. If the government is to get people travelling again successfully, it needs to restore confidence in the sector by providing support for the industry and working with the regulator to ensure companies are abiding by the law on refunds for cancelled travel.
Virgin, BA, EasyJet – which airlines have announced the resumption of flights?
The coronavirus pandemic ground air travel to a halt, with hundreds of thousands of flights cancelled, but the world is moving once again.
Airline associations and airports have worked with governments, in the UK, in Europe and further afield, to lay down standards for health and safety protocols that will allow passengers to go on holidays by plane this summer. The UK has even managed to agree its plans to ease quarantine.
But airlines also need to wait for demand to pick up and this will inform when and where they want to fly in the first weeks and months after the pandemic lockdown.
Here we run through the current resumption plans of some of the UK’s key airlines, when they want to start services again and when you will be able to book.
Scotland’s five-mile travel limit lifted
From today, people in Scotland can travel more than five miles from their home, and self-contained holiday accommodation can reopen. Both these measures are part of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across the nation. Bars and restaurants will not reopen until later in the month.
However, it should be noted that the change to the five-mile rule does not apply in parts of Dumfries and Galloway because of a local outbreak of coronavirus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked Scots to “behave responsibly”.
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing added: “When travelling, it is essential that plans are made in advance and checks are done on what facilities are open, like public toilets and car parking availability.”
Grant Shapps urges four nations to see ‘logic’ on air bridges
The Transport Secretary has explicitly blamed the Devolved Administrations for a delay in announcing the air bridges plan, saying proposals would have been revealed earlier if they had agreed to it.
Grant Shapps told Sky News the announcement had been pushed back “a day or two” because Scotland and Wales had not signed up to the list of 50-plus countries being exempted from quarantine, meaning it will only apply to those whose permanent residence is in England.
The Cabinet minister has urged Holyrood and the Senedd to back the plan, which comes into effect on July 10, saying “the logic is on side for all four nations to do this”.
Abta, the travel association, has said it is “urgently” waiting for decisions on quarantine restrictions from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Speaking later, Boris Johnson played down reports of a rift with the Scottish Government over the easing of quarantine restrictions for travellers coming to the UK.
“We have had very good conversations with all the devolved administrations about this,” the Prime Minister told LBC radio.
More updates in the politics live blog.
Have your say on your summer holiday plans
The Government has finally announced its plan to enable Britons to enjoy a summer holiday this year, with a traffic-lights style list of exemptions and reciprocal arrangements with more than 50 countries around the world.
But with coronavirus cases still rising worldwide, are people willing to venture abroad – or will 2020 be the year of the staycation?
Have your say in the poll below.
Speak to your travel provider to book with confidence, Abta advises
The Government’s easing of quarantine restrictions will address a pent-up demand for holidays, the UK’s travel association has said.
Abta, which has long called for clarity on the Government’s plans to resume overseas travel, said today’s list of 60 countries exempt from restrictions would be greeted “with huge relief by the travel industry”.
“Travel businesses have been under enormous pressure since the start of the pandemic, and the industry can now start to meet customers’ pent-up appetite for travel,” a spokesperson said.
“There will be some changes to people’s travel experiences because of the health and safety measures in place to limit Covid-19, and it will be important going forward that customers speak to their travel provider so that they can book and travel with confidence.”
The spokesperson said that access to overseas holidays depends on keeping transmission rates low “so everyone should continue to heed public health guidelines.”
Abta also said it “urgently awaited” decisions from the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
See the likely list of countries exempt from the travel quarantine here.
Passengers already in quarantine will not have to self-isolate
Air passengers who are already in quarantine following their return to England will no longer need to self-isolate from July 10, Grant Shapps said.
The Transport Secretary told BBC Breakfast that passengers who are currently isolating for 14 days will be able to break the restrictions legally from next Friday.
He said while “nothing could happen” before July 10, “from that point onward you will be legal not to quarantine yourself”.
“It’s very important to stress the quarantine does exist until July 10,” Mr Shapps said.
How do I have a quarantine-free holiday?
The Government will give the green light to overseas holidays today, meaning visitors to around 60 countries will no longer have to self-isolate on their return to Britain.
However, many countries still have restrictions on arrival in place. New Zealand, for example, could remain closed to foreign tourists until next year. Various levels of restrictions are also in force in countries including Austria, the Azores, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta and Slovenia.
That said, countries including Belgium, Croatia, Germany and Italy have no restrictions on arrivals.
Here are the rules for every country in Europe, plus a few others likely to be on the UK exemption list.
Transport committee welcomes air bridges plan
The chair of the Transport Select Committee has welcomed the air bridges announcement, and called on the Government to use it as a spring board to help support the industry while keeping passengers safe.
Huw Merriman MP, said:
In last month’s report on aviation, the Transport Committee called for the blanket quarantine period to be dropped in favour of a more flexible and risk-based approach to border control. The aviation sector, tourism industry and UK economy will be relieved by this news and we welcome it.
To minimise the risk to both passengers and workers from Covid-19, the UK Government now needs to champion the development and implementation of global health standards. The UK has led the world in the creation of aviation safety and we should do likewise in the creation of a universal health standard to keep us all safe.
Today’s news will go some way to restoring customer confidence. Passengers will also need reassurance on insurance and refund issues and we look forward to hearing how the Government will take forward our recommendations on the Airline Insolvency Bill and reform of the Civil Aviation Authority.
The best UK hotels opening from July 4, and the rules for post-lockdown stays
This Saturday, July 4, is the date that UK hospitality can reopen its doors, including hotels.
It goes without saying that stays will look rather different post lockdown. In Government guidance released on June 24, establishments were advised to implement a series of measures to ensure the safety of guests and staff.
The full details, as well as the best British hotels reopening from tomorrow, can be found here.
How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice
Contrary to popular belief, you can visit a country to which the Foreign Office (FCO) advises against travel without invalidating your insurance – you just need to contact one of the few providers willing to offer cover. What’s more, it shouldn’t cost much more than an ordinary policy.
The FCO will soon lift its blanket travel, giving the green light for holidays to most of Europe and a few long-haul countries. But that will still leave the majority of the planet off-limits.
Travelling against official government advice is not illegal, but most tour operators will not offer trips to destinations which the FCO deems unsafe – in normal circumstances, that means places like Iraq and Afghanistan; in these strange times, it means just about everywhere – and most travel insurers won’t provide cover.
But a handful of hardy travel firms have been sending intrepid Britons to FCO no-go zones for years.
Oliver Smith has the details on the travel firms that offer bespoke insurance.
Authorities in Thailand continue to reopen sites to tourists following lockdown
Domestic tourists could be seen posing for photos at attractions in Thailand yesterday, as more across the country continued to reopen.
Face masks were, of course, worn by many.
Super Saturday rules explained: what you can, can’t, and shouldn’t do from July 4
From Saturday, you are allowed to take holidays within England. You can stay in hotels and campsites, per various social distancing measures, but you are only to travel with members of one other household.
The government recommends that you “take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene and avoid using shared bathrooms wherever possible”. Campsites have been told to clean their shared bathrooms and showers more often.
And you are advised not to “interact socially” with anybody not in your group. The era of making friends on holiday is temporarily over.
More advice for Super Saturday here.
Airbnb begins banning bookings from some younger guests to prevent parties
Airbnb is attempting to crack down on unauthorized parties by banning booking for some of its younger guests. Those under the age of 25 with fewer than three positive Airbnb reviews will not be allowed to book entire homes close to where they live. The exact definition of “close” is yet to be confirmed by Airbnb.
If the guest has more than three positive Airbnb reviews, with no negative reviews at all, the restrictions will not apply. Guests under the age of 25 with fewer that three positive reviews will also still be able to book a room within a home and entire homes further afield.
The home-sharing company began its efforts to ban “party houses” last year, after five people were shot and killed at a rental in the town of Orinda in Northern California, near to San Francisco.
The transmission of coronavirus is now also a key consideration in Airbnb’s attempt to ban unauthorised parties. The company said in a statement:
With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States.
When can I book an Airbnb in the UK or Europe?
I’m heading abroad this summer – but what if things go wrong?
It seems summer holidays may end up happening after all. That said, if you’re planning a trip abroad there are still a lot of unknown factors. Consumer expert Nick Trend has put together a troubleshooting guide in case you take the plunge and things go wrong.
Key questions in his comprehensive guide include
Will my insurance cover Covid-19?
I haven’t got any insurance – will I be able to get some?
What if there is a resurgence of the pandemic in the destination I have booked?
My holiday is on, but I really don’t want to go. What can I do?
My holiday was disappointing, can I claim compensation?
Find out the answers to these and more here.
Wales brings forward reopening of tourism
The Welsh Government has confirmed that holidaymakers will be able to stay overnight in Wales two days earlier than previously announced. Providers of self-contained accommodation can now take bookings from Saturday July 11 instead of the original date of July 13. This is subject to the continued fall in coronavirus cases.
Self-contained accommodation refers to cottages, hotels and bed and breakfasts that can provide ensuite bedrooms and room service meals. Stays in caravans with their private kitchens and bathrooms will also be permitted.
Wales’ minister for international relations Eluned Morgan said at the Welsh Government’s daily press briefing on Thursday:
If the scientific and medical advice supports reopening, self-contained accommodation will be able to reopen from July 11.
“We’ve brought this forward from July 13 after discussing this further with the sector to enable them to take bookings from Saturday to Saturday.
Discover the greatest post-lockdown escapes in Wales here.
Greece not on green list from next week, Transport Secretary confirms
Greece will not be added to the list of countries exempted from quarantine next week, because of the country’s decision to ban flights from the UK, the Transport Secretary has said.
Grant Shapps told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “”Greece won’t be on the list in the first place because Greece have said that on July 15 that’s their next review of their own systems.
“Reciprocity can’t come before July 15 for Greece and that is a matter for Greece themselves.”
When can I travel to Greece? Read the latest advice here.
US is on red list, Grant Shapps confirms
Grant Shapps has confirmed the US will be on the red list of countries where quarantine will still apply, because of the high number of cases in the country.
Speaking to the Today programme he said: “We know that although you’ve seen the story here, we’ve got things under control, but it’s still raging in other parts of the world.”
Asked if the US would be on that red list, he added: “I’m afraid it will be.”
“The US from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and Europe, so there isn’t a reciprocal relationship in place there in any case,” he said, noting the flight ban had not helped keep cases down.
90% of Ryanair refund backlog to be cleared by the end of July
Ryanair has announced that it is making rapid progress in processing customer refunds for flights cancelled during the period from March to June as a result of Government imposed Covid-19 flight cancellations.
The Ryanair Dublin offices reopened on June 1, with additional refunds staff trained to eliminate the backlog of customer refund requests.
The airline announced today that as a result, all March cash refund requests have now been cleared. In addition, as of July 1, 50% of April cash refunds have been cleared. By July 15, the balance of April cash refunds will be processed, and by the end of the month, all of May most of June cash refunds will also be processed. These figures include passengers who have accepted travel vouchers and/or free moves onto flights that are now being operated by Ryanair in the months of July, August an September.
Ryanair also called on screenscraping online travel agents (OTAs) to provide accurate details of their unauthorised bookings, so Ryanair can also process these refunds. Ryanair calls on all affected customers who have not yet received their refund to contact OTAs’ Customer Service to ensure that OTAs have acted on Ryanair’s notification emails and are cooperating with Ryanair so these refund requests can also be processed.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said:
We are pleased to have made such significant progress over the month of June in eliminating the backlog of cash refunds due to the Covid-19 flight cancellations. Over 90% of passengers who booked directly with Ryanair and who requested a cash refund for travel between March and June will receive their refunds before the end of July. It is worrying however that a significant rump of our customers, who made bookings through unauthorised 3rd party screenscrapers / online travel agencies, have yet to receive their refunds because the OTAs gave Ryanair fake email addresses or virtual credit card details for these customers.
We are highlighting this fact to the regulators in Ireland (CAR) and in the UK (CAA) as this demonstrates yet again why urgent regulation of unauthorised screenscrapers is needed to ensure that these unauthorised intermediaries provide airlines with accurate email addresses and valid payment details for customers so we can process cash refunds to these customers promptly and efficiently.
Coronavirus travel advice: our consumer champion explains your rights
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reiterates on Twitter that ‘air bridge’ list will be announced today
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on his personal Twitter feed that he will be publishing the list of countries that qualify for an ‘air bridge’ today in time for summer holidays.
I’ll be publishing a list of ‘Air Bridge’ countries today in time for summer holidays – removing the need to quarantine for 14 days from specific destinations where the virus is under control and arrangements are in place.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 3, 2020
Which countries will be exempt from UK quarantine, and when will the list be announced?
Face shields are now mandatory on all Qatar Airways flights
Qatar Airways have announced that its passengers will now be required to wear a face shield on board in addition to a face mask. Passengers are not required to supply their own mask and shield – the airline will issue each passenger with a protection kit that includes both as well as hand sanitiser and disposable gloves before boarding.
Business class passengers can wear the shield “at their own discretion, as the enjoy more space and privacy,” but those is economy most wear them at all times, unless they are eating or drinking.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, said in a statement
By introducing these additional onboard safety and hygiene measures, our customers can rely on us and our unparalleled expertise to fly them safely to their destination.
As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers, so that they can travel with confidence.
Virgin, BA, EasyJet – which airlines have announced the resumption of flights?
Prime Minister’s father accused of flouting travel advice
Boris Johnson’s father has been accused of ignoring coronavirus travel advice after it emerged that he flew to Greece to visit his holiday home.
Stanley Johnson yesterday said he made the trip for “essential business” reasons, to “Covid-proof” his coastal villa prior to the holiday season.
The former Conservative MEP revealed he had arrived in Athens on Wednesday evening, having travelled to the country indirectly via Bulgaria, owing to Greece operating a ban on direct flights from the UK.
Mr Johnson, 79, shared a video on Instagram of his plane landing in the Greek capital and a photo of himself wearing a face mask, which appeared to be taken in the airport.
Read the full story.
TSSA accuses Government of overseeing ‘quarantine fiasco’
The TSSA, an independent trade union for the transport and travel trade industries with thousands of members across the UK and Ireland, has accused the Government of a ‘quarantine fiasco,’ after plans for air bridges from individual countries to and from Britain were thrown into doubt.
A list of more than 60 countries where the Government proposed to abandon its quarantine policy is due to be announced today by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, but at this stage the list is a week later than expected.
General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said:
The Government’s quarantine rules have been a fiasco from the onset. The fact is we did not stop people coming into our country when our infection rates were very high.
Then in early June Priti Patel introduced a blanket quarantine period for all arrivals when many countries had, by this point, done a fair better job than our Government at controlling the spread of the virus.
We have now been told for almost a week that a change of policy is on its way, without knowing the details. Frankly, this is courting disaster – many of our members’ jobs are under threat because their employers don’t know what holidays they are allowed to sell.
We need firm leadership to sort this out this escalating shambles. These Tory Ministers are totally out of touch.
Air travel is safest form of public transport during coronavirus crisis, says adviser
Flying in a plane is the safest form of public transport during the coronavirus outbreak thanks to the “disciplined” approach found within airports and airlines, a professor who advised the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.
Ashley Woodcock, a professor of respiratory medicine at Manchester University, said plane travel was structured in a way that “anarchic” trains or the London Underground were not.
Prof Woodcook, who led an expert group that advised the DfT and industry, added:
Travel in planes is a very disciplined environment. People form queues, they sit facing the same way [and as such] it’s safer than other forms of public transport because of all the discipline in airports and airlines.
This had been boosted by measures to ensure airports and planes were “super clean”, with hand gel stations situated throughout airports, social distancing of two metres where possible and compulsory face coverings to mitigate contact when under two metres apart.
Read the full report by Charles Hymas here.
Domestic tourism in Northern Ireland reopens today
Telegraph Travel’s Emma Cooke is flying from London Heathrow to cover the reopening of domestic tourism in Northern Ireland. She had an early start at the airport today, where hand sanitiser dispensers are everywhere. Signs also request that those in the terminal wear a face covering at all times.
Video from the scene shows that while the airport is not crowded, it is not as empty as some might expect.
You can follow her on Twitter for more live updates. Or find out what is was like on board easyJet’s first postlock-down flight here.
Which countries will be on the list?
We are being told that “up to 60” countries including Spain, France and Greece will feature on the list, set to be announced at lunchtime.
However, Telegraph Travel has noticed that the FCO has been tinkering its advice to 56 destinations, with the latest update reading: “Editorial review to remove ‘Return to the UK’ section and improve ‘Coronavirus’ section”, the countries with this alert include:
Latvia, San Marino, Poland, Austria, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Switzerland, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland, Slovakia, Serbia, Germany, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Reunion, Australia, Finland, St Pierre and Miquelon, Andorra, New Zealand, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Gibraltar, Spain, Greece, St Kitts and Nevis, Martinique, Monaco, St Lucia, Canada, Wallis and Futuna, Trinidad and Tobago, Montenegro, Bermuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, French Polynesia, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, France, Malaysia, Ireland, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Portugal.
This could be coincidental, of course.
What happened yesterday?
CAA criticises airlines refund policies
Ryanair sees June traffic fall 97 per cent year-on-year
Welsh pubs, restaurants and cafes can reopen outdoor areas from July 13
UK Government blames Scotland over air bridges fiasco
Tokyo records highest number of Covid-19 cases in two months
Now, on with today’s news.